What Is The Relationship Between Eating Disorders And Anxiety Disorders?

Dr. Levendusky answers the question: 'Eating Disorders And Anxiety Disorders?'

ByPhilip G. Levendusky, Ph.d., Director, Psychology Department and Psychology Training, Mclean Hospital
April 15, 2008, 5:54 PM

— -- Question: What is the relationship between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

Answer: There's a very close relationship between eating disorders and anxiety in many patients. Often people will talk about actually their anxiety predating the development of their eating disorder in that their eating disorder is in some ways a manifestation of their difficulty in dealing with their anxiety.

For example, they feel anxious in social situations or they feel anxious about how they look and then that leading them down the road of restricting their food intake or binging and purging. I've seen clients who will actually engage in eating disorder behavior as a way of taking the edge off of their anxiety. And that their eating disorder clearly is closely related to their eating disorder.

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